Christmas Letter – 2010
Oh COME LET US ADORE Him, Christ the Lord
Each year I age a little more, this year I noticed that I needed larger print, cheaters and more fiber in my diet. I didn’t think that I was looking too bad until, one night in August I stayed overnight with Granny and I was down in the community laundry room in my pajamas at 6am. One of the ladies asked me if I was a new resident there. Come on now, the median age is 80+ and the majority of the residents have canes, walkers, or wheelchairs. I’ll give her the benefit of doubt, maybe she didn’t have her glasses on, or maybe, I just need to take a good long hard look in the mirror.
Darell’s been to one Packer preseason game and two Badger games this year. Totally worth every penny spent as they were all good games. As I was reminding him how many scrapbook supplies each game would equate to, he reminded me that it was all about the experience, not the money. That’s when I quickly reminded him that with the Liming memory, he wouldn’t be remembering the memories for long! Needless to say, he can’t find his Carhartt jacket … now where did I leave that? Hmmm.
In June, two weeks before the first Eau Claire Sprint Triathlon, Lisa and I got a wild hair and decided to participate. We were going to do the whole thing by ourselves but others wanted to join us. Swimmers were in demand, so we formed teams and decided to be the swimmers. Lisa teamed up with her husband Johnny and I formed a team with Rebecca & Rachel. We were the Tres Muchachas. Much to our surprise, our time of 1:39:09 gave us a second place finish out of seven all female teams. I swam 500 meters (1/4 mile) in 14:25 minutes, Rachel biked 17 miles in 57:49 minutes, averaging 17.6 mph and Rebecca ran 5K (3.1 miles) in 25:52 averaging 8:21/mile. We had fun and would do it again. Anyone want to join us next year? We are in need of swimmers, but I must be honest, Half Moon is cold & full of lots of weeds, and lots & lots of algae.
Rebecca is 18 and a senior this year. She has been applying to colleges and has been accepted at St. Norbert’s in
De Pere/Green Bay and St. Kate’s in the St. Paul/Minneapolis area. She wants to go into Early Childhood Education. In September, her and her girlfriend Caitlyn sponsored a Food Fest for St. Francis for their National Honor Society project. They raised $2000 and collected 605 pounds of food for a local food pantry.
One night when I walked thru the door Darell quickly informed me that Rebecca attempted to leave the house looking like a French maid and smelling like one too. I had no idea what one looked like or smelled like. After all, how would he know he’s never been to France? Maybe, this is where his watching all those educational shows finally paid off, but I was still puzzled as to how he would know what one smelled like. My informant, Sarah, told me that Rebecca was wearing a black dress. Well, by the time I saw her, she was leaving the house wearing her skinny jeans and a sweatshirt. You know how protective daddy can be. If his girls aren’t wearing turtlenecks in the summer, he gets a little nervous.
Rachel is 16 and a sophomore this year. Last week she got her drivers license. She plays the trumpet in the jazz band, is in the key club and on the retreat team. She is taller than me, therefore taller than her sisters. She plays volleyball, basketball, and softball. She is also on the academic challenge team. She likes to bike, on & off road. She even kept up with her Uncle Johnny in the triathlon. This year she attended her first Packer Game and her first Badger Game. She did manage to partake in the wave occasionally but would much rather observe the crowd. She is quiet and an introvert but has a sense of humor, so she does smile occasionally. For her sweet 16th birthday, I had her Great Grandma’s (Granny’s) wedding ring reshanked and sized to fit her. The ring is simple and has three very small diamond chips. I told her that maybe someday she could use it for her wedding band. She responded, “I hope he can afford something more than that!” I thought to myself, it’s good to set your standards high.
Sarah is 12 and in the seventh grade this year. She finally has her own cell phone, complete with unlimited texting. She has gotten taller but remains our informant or “inch high private eye.” She helps me parent, telling me when I should call Rebecca and tell her that it’s time to come home.
Sarah is involved in band, Builders Club and Art Club. She plays volleyball, basketball, and softball and will be going out for track. She keeps herself busy doing ‘crafty’ things, although she is much better at taking things out than putting them away. She likes riding to school with her sisters and learns a lot from their bantering. Rebecca complains when Sarah wears her shoes or her perfume.
This week they had an ugly Christmas sweater contest at school. Sarah asked me if she could wear one of my sweaters and take another for her friend Katie. I told her that we should have saved some of Granny’s acrylic sweaters. Well, she was thinking about some in my closet. “You know mom, the black vest with the snowmen on it.” That particular one was less than five years old and I thought it was cute. When I tucked her in, I found not one or two ugly sweaters but four ugly sweaters sitting next to her backpack. She must have felt I had an abundance. Remember how I thought that maybe I should take a good hard look in the mirror, well maybe it’s time to take a good hard look at my clothes in the closet as well.
Momma always said, dying was part of life. I sure wish it wasn’t. – Forrest Gump
Oh how I miss my 6:30am phone calls with a woman that I dearly loved. On September 14th, we lost our beloved Granny. We lost our fourth generation, our bridge, and vast knowledge to the past. God gave us 10 days to say our goodbyes, and by the end, Granny was ready for the kingdom, and we were ready to let her go. The day after she died, we had a big thunderstorm, I think that she was letting us know that she made it to heaven. Then the next day, after we visited the funeral home there was more thunder, perhaps she wasn’t happy with some of our decisions, the color of her casket & what dress to bury her in. Granny died two months shy of her 95th birthday. She always claimed that the secret to her longevity was that God was rewarding her for taking such good care of her mother Rose, who died one month shy of her 95th birthday. Mom, Lisa, & I figure that if that is truly the case, we should be around for years to come. We are so very thankful that God gave her so many good healthy years and we had the opportunity to share them with her. Before she died, I thanked her for giving me the gift of her daughter, my mom. This year mom decided not to put any tinsel on their big Christmas tree in the great room. Year after year Granny didn’t like the fact that mom would put so much tinsel on the tree that one could barely see the ornaments … well, in Granny’s honor, this year there is no tinsel.
Mom & Dad celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in August. The children and grandchildren helped them put on a shindig in their backyard. Over 250 people attended. The weather was perfect. We had grilled chicken and bbq ribs, a full bar, jazz band, etc. Mom & dads entertaining is second to none, Scott, Lisa & I on the other hand … like to do things a little simpler. We have so much to be thankful for, it’s as if we won the parent lottery. They are both prime examples of what it means to give of your time, talent, and treasure.
So as we reflect on this Christmas season, let us give of our time, talent, and treasure.
Oh COME LET US ADORE Him,Christ the Lord.
Darell, Renee, Rebecca, Rachel & Sarah